Port plans new operations center
MORGAN CITY, La. — The Port of Morgan City is looking to build a new government and operations training center, which it has received $100,000 in funding from the state to do preliminary design work, that would also serve as an emergency operating center when necessary.
The Legislature dedicated the $100,000 for the planning and development of the project during the 2013 regular legislative session, state Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, said.
The center would also serve as an emergency operating center that would house the Coast Guard, Customs, port officials, as well as the sheriff’s office and state police if needed, Port of Morgan City Executive Director Jerry Hoffpauir said.
The port should be able to get an artist’s rendition in addition to other preliminary design work with the $100,000, Hoffpauir said. The total engineering fees for the project will be around $900,000.
The port may use some of its own funds to help with engineering efforts for the new center, Hoffpauir said.
“What we’re trying to do with it is establish it as the operating center for the Louisiana central coast in times of emergency,” Hoffpauir said. For example, if a storm “wiped out Houma,” emergency personnel could operate out of the proposed center in Morgan City, he said.
The time frame for when the new center could be built depends on when the port is able to get funding through the Legislature, Hoffpauir said. “We want to be real close to having a shovel-ready project when the money is released, and if the money’s released,” Hoffpauir said.
There is $7 million in priority 5 funding for the actual construction of the center while the $100,000 for planning and development is under priority 2 funding, Jones said.
“All new projects that are preparing for construction start in priority 2, and they get followed up by the actual construction money, which is in priority 5,” Jones said.
“It takes somewhere between a year and two years to actually do the planning and the structuring and all of that,” Jones said.
Jones said he and state Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, “equally put in the efforts to get those funds.”